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NJSIAA Tournament

Group Semifinals

Group III

Mainland 5, Middletown North 4

Middletown North chipped away at a five-run deficit an came within a run of tying the game in the bottom of the seventh, but the surging Mustangs had enough to hold off the Lions and end their Group III title defense.

Mainland entered the NJSIAA Tournament 9-13 and has now climbed above a .500 winning percentage for the first time since the Mustangs were 4-3 on April 17.

Two plays on defense cost Middletown North two runs in the top of the second inning. A bunt attempt by Brady Blum turned into an infield since and a second-and-third set-up for the Mustangs when sophomore starting pitcher Gabe Ahlemeyer threw wide of first base in a desperate attempt to get the first out of the inning.

On the next play, Lions shortstop Ryan Frontera juggled a groundball ball before alertly firing it to third base to attempt to cut down the advancing lead runner. Blum, however, slid under Zach Hampton's tag just in time, giving Mainland a 1-0 lead with runners on the corners with none out.

Bryan Perez followed with a sacrifice fly before Ahlemeyer struck out the next two hitters to limit the damage to a pair of runs.

Mainland stayed on Ahlemeyer in the third inning, with Christian Elliot crushing a double off the left-centerfield fence and scoring on a sacrifice fly by Blum. Jack Haines then delivered a clutch two-out, RBI single to stretch the Mainland lead to 4-0.

Ahlemeyer walked the leadoff man in the fifth and Middletown North went to sophomore right-hander Alipio Figueroa out of the bullpen. Colin Cook then dropped a bunt up the first-base line and it stopped directly on top of the chalk. As if that was not bad enough for Middletown North, Mike Wagner advance all the way to third while the Lions were letting the ball roll in hopes that it would eventually kick foul.

Mainland capitalized with another sacrifice fly from Blum to make it 5-0.

Middletown North finally got on the board in the bottom of the sixth thanks to a pair of Mainland miscues in the field. Frontera walked and moved to second base on a wild pitch to start the rally. With one out, Hampton punched a ball up the middle for an infield single and when second baseman Jake Blume mishandled it, Frontera sped around third and scored the first Lions run.

An error on a groundball to third base by Colby McMahon made it 5-2 with one out, but sophomore right-hander Jake Lodgek came through with a huge strikeout looking on a 3-2 pitch to Jason Quardt that the Middletown North junior leftfielder did not appear to agree with. Ahlemeyer then flied out to left to end the threat.

With Figueroa keeping Mainland off the board in the sixth and seventh innings, Middletown North made some more noise in the seventh. Sophomore Aldo Casale -- who came off the bench to play third base on the pitching change -- slapped a line-drive single into rightfield to lead off the inning.

After a strikeout by reliever Ethan Mitnick -- who took over with one out, two on and a 4-1 lead in the sixth -- moved Mainland within two outs of clinching the victory, Frontera unloaded on a 3-1 pitch and launched it over the leftfield fence for a two-out homer and a one-run deficit.

Mitnick responded by inducing a pop-up to Blum, who ran in from his shortstop position and navigated the pitchers mound to make a basket catch. Mitnick then finished the game off with a breaking ball for a swinging strikeout.

Mainland advances to the Group III final Saturday against Morris Knolls at Veterans Park in Hamilton, with first pitch scheduled for 1 p.m.

Mainland (14-13)0220100542
Midd North (17-9)0000022462


Jake Lodgek (W, 4-2)5.142037109
Ethan Mintick (SV)1.22220232
Middletown NorthIPHRERBBSOPC
Gabe Ahlemeyer (L, 6-3)43545271
Alipio Figueroa31000128

Top Hitters

MainlandGame Stats
Christian Elliot1-3, 2B, BB, R, SB
Colin Cook1-1, 2 BB, R
Brady Blum1-1, R, 2 RBI
Jackson Haines1-3, 2 RBI
Middletown NorthGame Stats
Ryan Frontera1-3, HR, BB, 2 R, 2 RBI
Dylan Briggs1-2, BB
R.J. Kernan1-3, BB
Zach Hampton1-4, R
Aldo Casale1-1, R
Gabe Ahlemeyer1-3



Group II

Rumson-Fair Haven 9, Seneca 0

Senior second baseman Griffin Shenman capped a seven-run first inning by the home team with a grand slam and the Bulldogs rode another impressive pitching performance by Jackson Hinchcliffe and the bullpen past the Golden Eagles and into the first state final in program history.

Sophomore centerfielder Parker Shenman singled to lead off the first and later scored on an RBI single by junior Jack Riva to make it 1-0. Senior Brayden Dill extended the lead to 2-0 with a sacrifice fly and junior Aaron Del Tin worked a bases-loaded walk to make it 3-0 and set the stage for Griffin Shenman.

The senior second baseman blasted a shot to leftfield that cleared the fence and pumped the Rumson lead up to 7-0 before the last out of the first inning. The home run was the first of the season for Shenman and first in a little more than a year. Both of his career home runs are in NJSIAA Tournament games.

Parker Shenman stayed red-hot in the bottom of the third with his second hit of the game, this one knocking in Rumson's eighth run. The younger Shenman also went 4-for-4 in the sectional final win over Spotswood on Friday.

The Bulldogs completed the scoring in the bottom of the fourth with another RBI by Dill, this one coming on a run-scoring single.

Hinchcliffe fired five shutout innings with seven strikeouts before leaving with a 9-0 lead and turning the game over to senior right-hander Cal Champeau, who pitched around a two-out triple in the sixth to log two scoreless innings.

Rumson will take on Pascack Hills in Saturday's Group II championship game at Veterans Park in Hamilton, with first pitch scheduled for 10 a.m.

Seneca (13-14)0000000050
Rumson-FH (22-5)701100x970


Alex Argabright (L, 4-2)0.12664026
Dom Kleinknecht3.25332268
Brayden Davis20000117
Jackson Hinchliffe (W, 6-1)54001774
Cal Champeau21000325

Top Hitters

SenecaGame Stats
Jake Christopher1-3, 3B
Rumson-Fair HavenGame Stats
Griffin Shenman1-3, HR, R, 4 RBI
Parker Shenman2-3, R, RBI
Jack Riva2-4, R, RBI
Brayden Dill1-2, 2 RBI
Reece Moroney1-3, 2 R



Group I

Buena 9, Point Beach 3

Ryley Betts belted a two-run homer in the top of the first inning and Brandon Strouse followed with another in a three-run second as the Chiefs stacked up nine runs in the first four innings on the way to ending another championship season for the Garnet Gulls in the Group I semifinals.

Betts also added an RBI single in the fifth inning that made it 5-0 and Joey Kurtz highlighted a three-run third with an RBI double.

Noah Banick got Point Beach on the scoreboard with an RBI single in the bottom of the fourth, but Buena had already built a 9-0 lead by the top-half of that same inning. Banick also doubled and scored on a sacrifice fly by Bryan Matuschat for the first of two runs on the bottom of the seventh. The second run scored on an error before Austin Wocock finished off the complete game, sending Buena to its first state final since winning Group II in 2014.

Matuschat was the highlight for Point Beach on the mound, pitching three innings of one-hit, shutout relief with six strikeouts to keep Buena from activated the 10-run rule.

Buena will play in the Group I final vs. Pequannock Saturday at Veterans Park in Hamilton, with first pitch set for 7 p.m.

Buena (27-3)23310009102
Pt Beach (23-6)0001002362


Austin Wocock (W, 7-0)76312599
James Larsen (L, 2-3)1.25552145
Liam Dolan1.12300029
Ryan Doyle12111227
Bryan Matuschat31000632

Top Hitters

BuenaGame Stats
Ryley Betts2-4, HR, R, 3 RBI
Tre Carano2-4, R, RBI
Brandon Strouse1-2, HR, R, 2 RBI
Joey Kurtz1-3, 2B, BB, 2 R, RBI
Charlie Sagimbeni1-4, R, RBI
Allen Adkins1-4, 2B, R
Cole Shover1-3, R, 2 SB
Point BeachGame Stats
Noah Banick2-3, 2B, R, RBI
Kyle Kolans1-3, 2B, R
Tommy Conroy2-4
Colin Reinhard1-4



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